The European Commission has approved a €1 billion German measure to aid German steelmaker Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH (Salzgitter) in decarbonizing its steel production processes by using hydrogen, including renewable hydrogen produced on site, thanks to a new production facility.
The measure contributes to the achievement of the EU Hydrogen Strategy and the European Green Deal targets, while helping reduce dependence on imported Russian fossil fuels and fast forward the green transition, in line with the REPowerEU Plan.
The decision follows the approvals on 15 July 2022 and on 21 September 2022 of two Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI ‘Hy2Tech' and IPCEI ‘Hy2Use') in the hydrogen value chain. Salzgitter's project was selected by Germany in the context of an open call to form part of an IPCEI on hydrogen technologies and systems, which resulted in the two approved IPCEIs. However, according to a release given by the European Commission, given its characteristics and objectives, it was better suited for assessment under the Guidelines on State aid for climate, environmental protection and energy 2022.
“This €1 billion measure enables Germany to support Salzgitter's plans to decarbonize its steel production processes by using and producing renewable hydrogen.''Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president of competition policy at the European Commission
Executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy at the European Commission said: “This €1 billion measure enables Germany to support Salzgitter's plans to decarbonize its steel production processes by using and producing renewable hydrogen. This will contribute to the greening of a very energy-intensive and hard-to-abate sector while reducing Germany's dependence on imported fossil fuels. This is a good example of how our State aid framework enables Member States to help the EU's energy intensive sectors tackle the challenges of greening.”